Imran Khan to sworn-in as Pakistan’s Prime Minister today; Navjot Sidhu among special guests


Imran Khan to sworn-in as Pakistan’s Prime Minister today; Navjot Sidhu among special guests

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will sworn-in as the 22nd Prime Minister of the country at the President House here on Saturday.

The oath-taking ceremony is scheduled to take place at 9:30 am (local time) and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain would administer the oath to Khan. Before the ceremony takes place, Pakistan’s national anthem will be played out, Geo News reported. Following the oath-taking ceremony, the signing of documents will take place. Khan, who led the Pakistan cricket team to their only World Cup victory in 1992, would assume the prime ministerial post after more than two decades, since joining politics in 1996.

The members of the 1992 winning squad are slated to attend the swearing-in ceremony. From India, former cricketer and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who arrived in Pakistan yesterday, will grace the ceremony. Other cricketers such as Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, who was also invited by Khan, earlier confirmed that they would not be participating in the event. While Dev cited ‘personal reasons’, Gavaskar also declined the invitation owing to his commentary commitments for the ongoing Test series between India and England, the report said.

On Friday, Khan was elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, defeating his rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shehbaz Sharif. While, the 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician bagged 176 seats, Sharif, the PML-N president and the brother of jailed former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, managed to secure just 96 seats, The Dawn reported. The newly-elected Speaker of the House, Asad Qaiser announced the results amid the chants of ‘na manzoor’ (unacceptable) and “Wazir-e-azam Nawaz Sharif” (former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif).

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which is the third largest party in the National Assembly (NA), the lower house of Pakistan’s Parliament, withdrew its support for the PML-N and abstained from voting in the House. In the July 25 general elections, the PTI had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The number increased to 158 in the NA after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11.

After being elected as the prime minister, Khan pledged to bring a change which according to him “the country was awaiting for last 70 years”. He assured to identify the people accountable for “looting the country”, as per the report. “Those who stole this nation’s money and stashed it abroad, I will bring them all to accountability. We will together debate and think on how to generate our own revenues so that we never have to be dependent on another country,” he said while thanking the youth of Pakistan for supporting him. Recounting his journey of 22 years from a cricketer to a politician, Khan asserted that no “military dictator nurtured” him and he has reached this height with his own “struggle and accord.”




Sexual abuse accusations criminal and morally reprehensible: Vatican City


Sexual abuse accusations criminal and morally reprehensible: Vatican City

Vatican City: The Vatican broke its silence about a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse of thousands of children by over 300 priests in the US state of Pennsylvania, calling the accusations “criminal and morally reprehensible”.

“Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” CNN quoted Greg Burke, director of the Vatican’s Press Office, as saying on Thursday.

“The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.” This week, Pope Francis had been under increasing pressure to address a rapidly escalating sexual abuse crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.


The Vatican’s comments came 48 hours after the Pennsylvania report was released. The report said internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania — some held in a secret archive to which only the bishop had a key — show that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.

The lengthy report investigates clergy sexual abuse dating back to 1947. According to the report, the accused priests victimised boys, girls, teens and pre-pubescent children. Some victims were plied with alcohol and groped or molested while others were raped.

“The clock is ticking for all of us in Church leadership,” CNN quoted Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the Pope’s top adviser on sexual abuse, as saying on Thursday. “Catholics have lost patience with us and civil society has lost confidence in us.” The Pope is yet to comment on the the nearly 900-page report.




Sexual abuse accusations criminal and morally reprehensible: Vatican City


Sexual abuse accusations criminal and morally reprehensible: Vatican City

Vatican City: The Vatican broke its silence about a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse of thousands of children by over 300 priests in the US state of Pennsylvania, calling the accusations “criminal and morally reprehensible”.

“Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” CNN quoted Greg Burke, director of the Vatican’s Press Office, as saying on Thursday.

“The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.” This week, Pope Francis had been under increasing pressure to address a rapidly escalating sexual abuse crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.


The Vatican’s comments came 48 hours after the Pennsylvania report was released. The report said internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania — some held in a secret archive to which only the bishop had a key — show that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.

The lengthy report investigates clergy sexual abuse dating back to 1947. According to the report, the accused priests victimised boys, girls, teens and pre-pubescent children. Some victims were plied with alcohol and groped or molested while others were raped.

“The clock is ticking for all of us in Church leadership,” CNN quoted Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the Pope’s top adviser on sexual abuse, as saying on Thursday. “Catholics have lost patience with us and civil society has lost confidence in us.” The Pope is yet to comment on the the nearly 900-page report.




Pakistan presidential election to be held on September 4


Pakistan presidential election to be held on September 4

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s presidential election is slated to take place on September 4, the country’s electoral body announced on Thursday. Incumbent Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain’s five-year term is due to end on September 9. Hussain is from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and took office in 2013, as the country’s 12th President, Geo News reported.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that the candidates could file their nomination papers for the polls to the presiding officers situated in Islamabad and in the four provinces of the country by August 27. The scrutinising of the nomination papers will take place on August 29. Those wishing to drop out from the presidential election can withdraw their candidature by August 30 (12 pm – local time), following which the final list of the candidates would be published by 1 pm (local time) on the same day.

On September 4, the newly-elected legislators would exercise their franchise in the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistan Parliament and the four provincial assemblies (Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) from 10 am to 4 pm (local times) respectively. The Pakistani President is elected indirectly by the members of the Parliament and the four provincial assemblies. Pakistan recently held the general elections to the NA on July 25, during which the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The PML-N which won 64 seats came second, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) bagged 43 seats and finished third.

— By Asia News International 




Pakistan’s National Assembly to elect new Prime Minister today


Pakistan’s National Assembly to elect new Prime Minister today

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s newly-elected National Assembly (NA), the lower house of the country’s Parliament, will vote for the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on Friday. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif are in contention for the position.

The two leaders filed their nomination papers for the post on Wednesday, Geo News reported. The PTI had emerged as the single largest party in the general elections on July 25 with 116 seats. The party has 158 members in the NA after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11. The Khan-led party reached the current figure after nine independent candidates joined and secured 33 seats reserved for the minorities and women.

For any candidate to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, a simple majority of votes from the total strength of the 330-member house is required. Currently, the PTI has the support of 175 lawmakers, which also includes the backing of smaller and regional political parties of Pakistan. These parties are expected to vote for Khan, thereby paving the way for him to become the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, the report said. Last week, the PTI party had said that Khan would take oath as the new Pakistan Prime Minister at the President House in Islamabad on August 18.


 
The PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have 81 and 54 members respectively. However, Sharif’s bid to become the next Pakistan’s Prime Minister hit a roadblock after the PPP withdrew support saying that it would not vote for him in the elections. Also, it is to be seen whether other parties such as Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Awami National Party (ANP) would vote for the PML-N president. However, the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a part of the MMA said that it would not be participating in the voting.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Khursheed Shah told media that the party had informed the PML-N of its reservations about Sharif being the prime ministerial candidate. He warned to the PML-N that if the latter did not change its premier’s candidate, the PPP would decide a future course of action. As per sources, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto and his father and former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said that the party would neither extend support to Khan nor to Sharif in the election.




Imran Khan, Shehbaz Sharif file nomination papers for Pakistan Prime Minister poll


Imran Khan, Shehbaz Sharif file nomination papers for Pakistan Prime Minister poll

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday filed their nomination papers for the election of Prime Minister, slated to be held in the National Assembly (NA) on August 17.

The newly-elected Speaker of the House, Asad Qaiser announced the process for the Prime Minister poll. He informed that the nomination papers could be filed till 2 pm (local time) on Thursday and the process of scrutiny would start after 3 pm (local time), Geo News reported. Last week, the PTI party announced that Khan would take oath as the new Pakistan Prime Minister at the President House in Islamabad on August 18. Qaiser, who sworn in as the new Speaker of the NA, secured 176 votes, compared to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Khursheed Shah, who got 146 votes, the paper said.

Also Read: Is this why Imran Khan invited Sidhu, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to oath-taking ceremony?
Out of the 330 votes cast in the election for the NA speaker, 322 of them were accepted, while eight votes were cancelled. Qaiser was administered the oath by outgoing Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. Meanwhile, Qasim Suri was elected as the new NA deputy speaker by bagging 183 votes out of 328 votes, compared to Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Asad Mahmood, who obtained 144 votes. The newly-elected speaker, Qaiser, administered the oath to Suri. 

Pakistan went to polls on July 25 and the PTI had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The party has 158 members in the NA after the ECP issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11. The Khan-led party reached the current figure after nine independent candidates joined and secured 33 seats reserved for the minorities and women.




US priests abused over 1000 kids


US priests abused over 1000 kids

Harrisburg : A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils removed.

Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water. One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

Those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, according to a sweeping state grand jury report released on Tuesday that accused senior church officials, including a man who is now the archbishop of Washington, DC, of systematically covering up complaints.


 
The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward, the grand jury said.

Top officials protected, as grand jury says it is too early to close book on Catholic Church sex scandal
While the grand jury said dioceses have established internal processes and seem to refer complaints to law enforcement more promptly, it suggested that important changes are lacking.

“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote in the roughly 900-page report.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all.”

Top church officials have mostly been protected and many, including some named in the report, have been promoted, the grand jury said, concluding that “it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal.”

In nearly every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges cannot be filed. More than 100 of the priests are dead. Many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave. Authorities charged just two, including a priest who has since pleaded guilty. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation of six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses — Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton — is the most extensive investigation of Catholic clergy abuse by any state, according to victim advocates. The dioceses represent about 1.7 million Catholics.

Until now, there have been just nine investigations by a prosecutor or grand jury of a Catholic diocese or archdiocese in the United States, according to the Massachusetts-based research and advocacy organisation, BishopAccountability.org.

The Philadelphia archdiocese and the Johnstown-Altoona diocese were not included in the investigation as they have been the subject of three previous scathing grand jury investigations.

The grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal diocesan documents, including reports by bishops to Vatican officials disclosing the details of abusive priests that they had not made public or reported to law enforcement.

The grand jury concluded that a succession of Catholic bishops and other diocesan leaders tried to shield the church from bad publicity and financial liability.

Of the 300 priests, over 100 are dead. Many others retired or were dismissed from priesthood or put on leave. Authorities charged just two, including a priest, who has since pleaded guilty.




Thai cave rescue: 3 boys from Wild Boars football team, coach get Thai citizenship


Thai cave rescue: 3 boys from Wild Boars football team, coach get Thai citizenship

Bangkok [Thailand]: Three boys from a football team, who were rescued from Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand last month, were granted Thai citizenship along with their 25-year-old coach on Wednesday.

The head coach of the Wild Boars soccer team, said, they received their official Thai ID cards along with another team member, who had also applied for citizenship but was not in the cave, reported Fox News. He said, “I am happy. If they have Thai citizenship, in the future, if they don’t want to play football they can take exams to become public officials or find good work that is related to their field of studies.” The footballers and the coach were among the 13 people who were trapped in the cave for nine days until their dramatic rescue.

Now after getting their citizenship, all four will not be deprived of basic benefits and rights, including the ability to travel outside of Chiang Rai, the Northern Province where they live. For those unversed, the footballers were found by the British divers in July, with footage showing them visibly weak and huddled on a mud mound deep inside the Tham Luang cave. The party was strolling inside the cave, following which they were trapped for nine days, before being found.




Death toll to rises to 164 as earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Lombok Island


Death toll to rises to 164 as earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Lombok Island

Mataram (Indonesia): The death toll from a devastating earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 160, an official said today, as authorities urgently appealed for medicine, food and clean water for some 156,000 people displaced by the disaster.

Many frightened villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields, and makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured. Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the powerful quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17. “The death toll rose to 164 people with at least 1,400 people seriously injured and 156,000 displaced,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP.

Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island. Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.


 
“We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive,” Christopher Rassi, the head of a Red Cross assessment team on Lombok, said in a statement. He estimated 75 per cent of houses are damaged in some villages in east and north Lombok. “There are still some evacuees that have not yet been touched by aid, especially in North Lombok and West Lombok,” Nugroho tweeted today.




Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May


Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May

London : Theresa May has waded into the row over Boris Johnson’s claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes and bank robbers, urging the former foreign secretary to apologise after he defied an order to do so by Tory chiefs, The London Times Reported.

The Prime Minister said she agreed with the Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, that Johnson should say sorry for his remarks, which she acknowledged had caused offence among the Muslim community.

She urged people to be “very careful” about the language they used to discuss issues such as women wearing the burqa, but stopped short of saying Johnson should have the whip withdrawn for his remarks.


 
After a meeting with the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, May told reporters: “I am very clear and the government is very clear about our position on the issue of the burqa, which is that women should be able to choose how to dress. It’s up to a woman to decide how to dress, it’s not up to other people to tell a woman how to dress. “It’s right that we have discussion about issues like this, but in doing that we all have to be very careful about the language and the terms that we use. “Some of the terms that Boris used in describing people’s appearance obviously have offended people, and so I agree with Brandon Lewis.”

The former foreign secretary is understood to view the instruction as an attempt to shut down debate on a difficult issue that should be tackled head-on. One source close to Johnson said: “It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked – we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult issues.

“We have to call it out. If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists.”

Earlier, Lewis said he had asked Johnson to apologise for his controversial remarks in an attempt to draw a line under the Islamophobia row.

Ex-foreign secy Boris Johnson had claimed that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes & bank robbers




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